South Regional

Ncaa Tournament

March 12, 2007|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

1. OHIO STATE

LOCATION -- Columbus, Ohio.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- Won Big Ten tournament.

RECORD -- 30-3.

RPI -- 1.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 11-3.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Mike Conley Jr. (6-1 freshman, 10.2 pts.); G Daequan Cook (6-5 freshman, 10.9 pts., 4.8 reb., 43.8 three-point pct.); C Greg Oden (7-0 freshman, 15.7 pts., 9.6 reb., 3.5 blocks).

THE BUZZ -- The Buckeyes might be young - three freshmen start, and four play a lot - but they're also good. Oden still isn't 100 percent (wrist), but he's a force on both ends in the paint. Cook is the Buckeyes' super sub, and Conley is steady at the point. Ohio State probably is better defensively than offensively. The Buckeyes will have trouble with an athletic team that is able to run. But can anybody do that against them?

2. MEMPHIS

LOCATION -- Memphis, Tenn.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- Won Conference USA tournament.

RECORD -- 30-3.

RPI -- 8.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 3-3.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Chris Douglas-Roberts (6-5 sophomore, 15.4 pts., 54.4 FG pct.); C Joey Dorsey (6-9 junior, 8.7 pts., 9.6 reb., 2.3 blocks, 62.7 FG pct.); G Jeremy Hunt (6-5 senior, 13.6 pts., 38.4 three-point pct.).

THE BUZZ -- A gaudy record, for sure, but the Tigers weren't tested in Conference USA play. Can they handle the pressure? They have a ton of good athletes, but the foul-prone Dorsey is the only big body in the low post. Hunt, who has had a checkered past (he was "permanently" dismissed last season but allowed to return this season), is the key three-point threat. The Tigers are awful from the line (61.0 percent).

3. TEXAS A&M

LOCATION -- College Station, Texas.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At-large, from Big 12.

RECORD -- 25-6.

RPI -- 17.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 3-4.(KEY PLAYERS -- G-F Josh Carter (6-7 sophomore, 12.5 pts., 3.9 reb., 51.9 three-point pct., 80.6 FT pct.); C Joseph Jones (6-9 junior, 13.2 pts., 6.6 reb., 54.4 FG pct., 82.1 FT pct.); G Acie Law IV (6-3 senior, 18.2 pts., 5.3 assists, 51.6 FG pct., 46.1 three-point pct.).

THE BUZZ -- Law is one of the nation's best players and lives to take the big shot. The Aggies are efficient offensively (50.1 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from three-point range), take care of the ball rebound well - and, oh, yeah - play in-your-face defense. Carter is a long-range bomber extraordinaire. But they only go seven-deep, and an off game from Law would be disastrous.

4. VIRGINIA

LOCATION -- Charlottesville, Va.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At-large, from Atlantic Coast Conference.

RECORD -- 20-10.

RPI -- 55.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 7-5.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Jason Cain (6-10 senior, 6.7 pts., 6.4 reb.); G J.R. Reynolds (6-2 senior, 17.8 pts., 4.0 reb., 3.9 assists, 82.7 FT pct.); G Sean Singletary (6-0 junior, 18.9 pts., 4.5 reb., 4.6 assists, 39.6 three-point pct., 88.1 FT pct.).

THE BUZZ -- The Cavaliers were a pleasant surprise this season, thanks to the excellent backcourt of Reynolds and Singletary. While the Cavs prefer a quick tempo, their guards can handle a slower pace. Despite a lack of size, Reynolds and Singletary are solid defensively, though a taller, physical guard can post them up. The Cavs have no frontcourt offense to speak of, and if Cain isn't on the court, rebounding becomes a big problem.

5. TENNESSEE

LOCATION -- Knoxville, Tenn.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At-large, from Southeastern Conference.

RECORD -- 22-10.

RPI -- 12.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 6-6.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Wayne Chism (6-9 freshman, 9.0 pts., 5.4 reb.); G Chris Lofton (6-2 junior, 20.6 pts., 41.7 three-point pct., 80.1 FT pct.); G JaJuan Smith (6-2 junior, 15.0 pts., 2.2 steals).

THE BUZZ -- The Volunteers want a fast pace; they can struggle in the half-court because of the lack of an inside game. And while they force a lot of turnovers because of their pressing style, their halfcourt defense isn't that good. Lofton has great range and isn't afraid to fire away. Chism and fellow freshman big man Duke Crews need to provide scoring and defense in the low post.

6. LOUISVILLE

LOCATION -- Louisville, Ky.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At-large, from Big East.

RECORD -- 23-9.

RPI -- 37.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 2-7.

KEY PLAYERS -- F David Padgett (6-11 junior, 9.6 pts., 5.7 reb., 1.5 blocks, 59.1 FG pct., 83.5 FT pct.); F Terrence Williams (6-6 sophomore, 12.7 pts., 7.2 reb., 3.9 assists).

THE BUZZ -- The Cardinals have a balanced offense (six players average between 7.8 and 12.7 points) and play good defense. They also have been playing well since hitting their stride in mid-January. That said, their offense isn't that good and their three-point shooting is spotty.

7. NEVADA

LOCATION -- Reno, Nev.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At-large, from Western Athletic Conference.

RECORD -- 28-4.

RPI -- 23.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 2-2.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Nick Fazekas (6-11 senior, 20.5 pts., 11.2 reb., 1.4 blocks, 58.1 FG pct., 84.7 FT pct.); G Marcelus Kemp (6-5 junior, 18.3 pts., 4.3 reb., 41.5 three-point pct.); G Ramon Sessions (6-3 junior, 12.5 pts., 4.7 assists, 83.0 FT pct.).

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